Vaccine and Booster Requirements
Page Updated: November 28, 2022
Who is included in the vaccination requirement?
All members of the campus community — students, faculty, and staff — are required to have the initial series of the COVID-19 plus one booster shot. This requirement applies to all current and incoming students regardless of the number of credits for which they are enrolled. Only students who are on leaves of absence, students studying in fully online programs, and international students studying from their home countries are not required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Online students must be vaccinated if they intend to come to campus.
What is the Suffolk University COVID vaccine requirement? Does this include boosters?
An initial COVID vaccine series is defined as follows:
- Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (two doses 3 weeks apart)
- Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (two doses 4 weeks apart)
- Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine (one dose)
- International vaccine (completion of entire course per manufacturers dosing)
Students, faculty and staff who wish to request an exemption from the COVID vaccine for either medical or religious reasons may do so. Instructions on how to submit a request for a medical or religious exemption are provided on this page.
In addition, all members of the community must receive a booster shot as soon as they are eligible.
Documentation of vaccines and boosters is required.
Vaccine Documentation - What should I do with my COVID-19 Vaccine information?
Faculty and Staff
COVID vaccine information for Suffolk faculty and staff must be uploaded to Workday; if you need help, there are instructions on how to upload your vaccine information in Workday.
Please note: If you have already submitted your vaccine information in Medicat, you are not required to enter this information in Workday again.
COVID vaccine information for Suffolk students must be uploaded to the CHW student health portal. You will need to log in using your Suffolk University username and password. Click on the “Immunization” button and follow the instructions to upload your vaccine information.
Why is Suffolk University requiring vaccinations for COVID-19?
Suffolk is requiring students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to protect the health and safety of our community, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The vaccinations are extremely effective and the best tool we have to ensure that we can continue to thrive as an in-person community in the midst of this global pandemic. There are a number of benefits to this vaccination requirement, including:
- It helps prevent severe COVID-19 infection and the potential for related serious and/or long-term adverse health effects among students, faculty, and staff;
- It significantly reduces the likelihood of transmission among members of the Suffolk Community;
- It creates a safer, more secure environment for Suffolk community members by drastically reducing the potential for COVID-19 outbreaks on campus;
- It helps to alleviate anxiety and discomfort for students, faculty, and staff who are fearful of COVID-19;
- It may help contribute to the reduction of COVID-19 spread in surrounding communities;
- It reflects the University’s support of and contribution to a larger public health endeavor with global implications; and
- It provides clear signals to prospective, new, and current students and their families about the importance of safety and health at Suffolk.
What vaccines are available in the U.S.? How can I get vaccinated now?
Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (two doses 3 weeks apart), Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (two doses 4 weeks apart), and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine (one dose) are all available in the U.S.
You may obtain your vaccination(s) in Massachusetts or out-of-state. You do not have to obtain consequent vaccinations at the same location as your first vaccination.
Please go to the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 vaccination information page for information about how and where to obtain a vaccination.
To obtain your vaccination(s) outside of Massachusetts, view the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine. You may schedule an out-of-state appointment via the CDC vaccination page.
Do I need to be vaccinated if I have already had COVID-19?
Yes. Anyone who previously had COVID-19 will still be required to be vaccinated.
Students who have had COVID-19 may receive the vaccine as soon as they have completed their isolation period and their symptoms have resolved. The only exception is students who have received convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibody treatments while ill. In these cases, students should wait 90 days before obtaining the vaccine as these treatments can reduce the response to the vaccine. If you find yourself in this situation, please schedule a telehealth appointment with a Suffolk University Counseling, Health and Wellness (CHW) nurse practitioner via the Student Health Portal.
Will there be any exemptions to the vaccination requirement?
There will be two permitted exemptions to the University’s vaccination requirement as is the case with every mandated vaccine at Suffolk University.
- Medical: A medical exemption from the vaccine requirement will be granted to students, faculty, and staff for whom receiving the COVID-19 vaccination is medically inadvisable. Documentation from a medical provider stating that the vaccine should not be obtained is required.
- Sincere Religious: Consistent with federal and state law, an exemption from the vaccine requirement will be granted to those with a sincerely held religious belief against vaccination. Anyone seeking this exemption must submit documentation of their sincerely held religious objection to vaccination by completing the religious accommodations form [PDF] and uploading it to the student health portal for review. .
- For students seeking a medical exemption from the vaccine requirement, documentation from the student’s health provider must be uploaded to the Student Health Portal.
- Students seeking a religious exemption from the vaccine requirement must upload documentation to the Student Health Portal.
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and staff who wish to request an exemption from the COVID vaccine for either medical or religious reasons should go to the Service Now portal to submit their request.
What happens if I do not comply with the vaccination requirement?
All students attending in-person orientation in June 2023 must upload proof of COVID vaccination (or documentation required for a medical or religious waiver) by June 1, 2023 or meet with a CHW staff member to develop a plan to complete their vaccine series as quickly as possible. For students beginning in January, documentation must be uploaded by January 1, 2023.
- Non-compliant residential students will not be allowed to move onto campus residence halls until they are compliant with our policy. The deadline for vaccine submission (if not attending orientation) is August 1, 2023 and January 1, 2023 for students beginning Spring semester.
- Non-compliant students will not be allowed to attend class until fully vaccinated and/or documentation is submitted and reviewed.
Faculty and Staff
Unless an exemption is granted under a formal process for the two permitted exemptions (medical, religious), faculty and staff are required to be vaccinated.
Any faculty or staff member refusing to follow the University’s safety and health protocols without a documented and approved exemption will not be able to remain on or access Suffolk’s facilities. This will not constitute an exemption to allow the employee to work remotely and will be treated as an unexcused and unapproved absence, resulting in the employee being placed on unpaid leave until the employee is in full compliance.
If I am not vaccinated and have an approved exemption, are there additional safety measures needed on campus?
If you are on a Suffolk campus and have been granted an exemption, you will need to follow COVID protocols as defined by the University at all times. These protocols are subject to change in response to community transmission rates and public health guidance.
If I am vaccinated, is there any limit to my movement on campus?
Suffolk will follow the mandates of the cities of Boston or Madrid and state of Massachusetts for any physical distancing and occupancy limits on our campus.
What if I don’t believe the vaccines are safe?
The following websites provide information on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine:
- COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Specific Groups – CDC
- Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines – CDC
- Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines – World Health Organization
- Vaccine Safety – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Which vaccine should I get?
Specific information about each of the approved vaccines, and recommendations based on previous COVID vaccine history, is available on the CDC website.
Will the University be requiring other vaccinations for students?
All students under age 30 enrolled in a full-time academic program, all health science students, and all international students are required by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to submit additional immunization records to Suffolk University upon enrollment. View a complete listing of required immunizations. Please check the Student Health Portal regularly to ensure your required immunizations are up-to-date.
Vaccination card and your second shot
- At your first vaccination appointment, you should have received a vaccination card that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. Bring this vaccination card to your second vaccination appointment and booster appointments.
- If you did not receive a COVID-19 vaccination card at your first appointment, contact the vaccination provider site where you got your first shot or your state health department to find out how you can get a card.
- Bring your vaccination card with you to your second shot appointment and booster appointments so your provider can fill in the information about consequent doses.
- Keep your vaccination card in case you need it for future use. Consider taking a picture of your vaccination card after your second shot appointment as a backup copy.
What should I do if I lose my COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card?
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health you have a few options:
- Contact your healthcare provider or the location where you were vaccinated. They can print out another copy of your record.
- Your record will also be in v-safe, if you enrolled in the program.
You can fill out an Immunization Record Request Form that goes directly to the state Department of Public Health. If you use this form, you will get a complete history of all vaccines you’ve received, not just the COVID-19 vaccine, and it can take up to 6 weeks to get your records.